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The Great Race
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The Great Race

Josh and Brent had played baseball together from little league to the junior varsity team at their school. Even outside of baseball, they did just about everything together. That is, until varsity tryouts—Josh made the team, but Brent got cut. Even though Josh has tried to keep the friendship tight, Brent seems to be pulling away. Deep down Brent hates facing the fact that Josh is a better ball player than he is.

[LINK] James cut to the core of what really causes problems between believers: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? . . . You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures (James 4:1-3). Deep down, our selfish desire for attention and recognition sometimes kills the love we should have for one another. The Bible says that always looking out for ourselves shouldn’t be our motivation. Instead, we should ask ourselves, “Does this glorify God?” Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load (Galatians 6:4-5).

[STORY] There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition—even Paul told Christians to run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24). But competing with your friends can cause some major drama. For example, girls often size each other up based on appearances, asking themselves, “Do I look better or worse than my girlfriends today?” Other people compete spiritually with their friends, thinking, “Is my relationship with God better or worse than that of my friends?” But comparing yourself to your friends shows that your love for them has strings attached. You’ll love them as long as they aren’t a threat to you.

[LIVE] In Galatians 6:4, Paul was pretty specific about how we should measure ourselves—without comparing [yourself] to somebody else. So who should be your point of comparison? That’s a God-and-you thing. He knows your heart better than anyone else. Ask Him to examine your heart and point out those areas where you fall short of His example. If your friends have gifts and talents that are standing out in obvious ways right now, give them props for using what God has given them. It may seem at times like your friends have more gifts and abilities than you have. The truth is that God has given you some of your own. He may sometimes use your gifts in dramatic ways—at other times, your influence may be subtle, but still eternally important.
It can be hard to watch your friends succeed and thrive, especially if you feel stuck in a rut. If you’re having trouble because you feel competitive or jealous of your friends, ask God for some help with your attitude. Sometimes we all could use a little reminder that we play for the same team!

[NXT LVL] After Jesus told Peter what would happen to him after He left, Peter asked what would happen to the disciple John. Read Jesus’ response to Peter’s request in John 21:20-22.


Reprinted with permission from YouthWalk magazine, © 2005 Walk Thru the Bible, Inc. To learn more about YouthWalk, visit www.youthwalk.org

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